I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
We have been looking at what is known as the “High Priestly Prayer,” where Jesus prays for his disciples. Last week, we looked at Jesus’ prayer for those whom he left behind—the Church. As followers of Jesus, the Church is a distinct group of people who live in this world but are spiritually no longer part of it. As a result, the Church is a countercultural group of people who display the glory of God to the world through belief in the words of Jesus, as well as through love for and unity with one another and the world. This week, Jesus’ prayer takes into consideration the implications for those living according to his Word. In previous weeks we’ve discussed how Christians who live according to Jesus’ teachings are made distinct from the rest of the world. As a result, Jesus knows that this distinction will solicit hatred from the world and attacks from the evil one. With this in mind, Jesus asks the Father to protect them by the power of his name (v. 11).
To see that though following Jesus may result in conflict, Jesus will make his joy complete in his followers and protect them from the only thing worth truly fearing—separation from God.
Jesus prays to the Father in verse 11, “Protect them by the power of your name.” This indicates that Jesus’ followers were in some sort of danger. What about the words of Jesus (v. 14) might cause relational discord and even hatred? Why?
In verse 15 Jesus also prays that the Father would protect his followers from the evil one. Who is the evil one? What are some reasons for conflict between the evil one and Jesus’ followers?
Given the broken world in which we live, there are many worries and concerns that people face. What are areas of concern and fear in our lives? Why do we fear these things?
Though God knows all our fears and is able to protect us, what Jesus prays for his followers, as already discussed in question 2, is protection from the evil one. Read the following quote aloud, summarize its meaning and discuss why we should be more aware of the dangers of the evil one.
The spiritual dimensions of this prayer of Jesus are consistent and overwhelming. By contrast we spend much more time today praying about our health, our projects, our decisions, our finances, our family, and even our games than we do praying about the danger of the evil one.1
Although the evil one attacks, Jesus asks the Father to protect his followers (v. 11, 15). He prays this in their hearing, so that it will produce a “full measure of joy within them” (v. 13). What is Jesus asking the Father to protect and how does this relate to a “full measure of joy”?
Silently read and meditate on the following quote. Consider a particular area of fear, conflict or sin struggle, and how these words might increase hope and joy. But if the Christian pilgrimage is inherently perilous, the safety that only God himself can provide is assured, as certainly as the prayers of God’s own dear Son will be answered.2 The world is broken and thus cannot offer true safety, but in Jesus our eternal safety is certain and unshakeable. In what ways does this idea influence your thinking, relationships, or mission?
Catch one another up on your lives to celebrate and give thanks to God. Pray that each member would daily remember there is protection for the Christian “as certainly as the prayers of God’s own dear Son will be answered.” • Together pray for those people in your life you would like to share your faith with but are struggling to do so.